Does anyone want less abortions?
Simplicity is a beautiful thing. Any time a subject becomes overly complex it stops making sense. However, there is a limit to simplifying ideas. Once the argument drops below three different positions it becomes too narrow to adequately address the concepts being discussed. We see this happening in our national debates all the time. Democrat or Republican, right or left, pro-life or abortion rights are just a few examples.
There are large political and economic forces encouraging us to stay in this limited mind set. Industries that want favorable government regulation and tax treatment partner with politicians that need financial support to win elections. Without a culturally powerful agenda there is not enough enthusiasm to bring out the vote. The manufacturing of a yes or no kind of argument around abortion allows them to get their politician elected. Democracy is a wonderful concept, but the path to a strong and healthy democracy is long and hard.
Consider the issue of the murder rate in the county. The argument around how to reduce it includes increased policing and the underlying social and economic conditions of the populations most effected. We understand that just the fact that it is illegal does not stop murder. We understand that crime, drug abuse, poverty and broken homes contribute to the problem. We consider a continued period of declines in the murder rate to be a positive indication that we are making progress. Since the early 1990s, there has been a step reduction of nearly 50%. We all want to see that continue to decline.
For those that view abortion as murder it is hard to find compromise. There is a large group of people who do not see all abortions as murder and believe that humans have the right to make decisions about their own body. Both sides believe they are right, so no agreement can be made between them on this point. This leaves the county in a stale mate with the political winds tilting the balance this and that way.
Would anyone find a sizeable decrease in the number of abortions to be a significant step in the right direction? Consider changing the discussion from the artificial two choices of “for or against” to how do we create a society that has significantly less abortions? We can then find areas of agreement.
Reducing unwanted pregnancy could become the fundamental issue that brings people of different faiths and opinions together in a way that achieves their objectives. Areas of disagreement still emerge, as abstinence from sex and birth control in all its forms is not accepted by everyone. However, a clear majority may accept that sex will occur, and birth control has a role.
The government would not need to dictate what is moral, but could allow and maybe even support, programs that facilitate generally agreed upon methods of reducing unwanted pregnancy. This would reduce both the government and large financial interest which manipulate the issue creating unnecessary divisions without making the situation better for anyone.
A national movement aimed at reducing unwanted pregnancy could find advocates across the political and social spectrums. Progress here would potentially entail a society where options for adoption were viable and access to both mental and physical health care was easily available.
A national movement focused on reducing abortions could support public and private programs directed at raising healthy educated children, supporting the choice to have a child.
As a man, I believe that I am at a disadvantage to women on this issue. The idea of murder is clear for both sexes, but the issue of a pregnant woman having the choice to give birth or not involves concepts that are impossible for a man to fully appreciate. As a result, women should take the initiative in the discussion and the decision making. The idea of a man insisting that a woman have an abortion goes against the ideals of people on either side of the issue. Men can offer opinions, but women must decide what is the right for them.
Still, we are all responsible for the society we live in. It solves nothing to leave the framing of the topic up to those who gain through dividing us. Perhaps the way forward is to simply have more people and less government involved in the discussion.